When I first saw Ivy Doomkitty on the list of panelists, all I knew about her is that she was a cosplayer that recently exploded on the national and international scene (and I only knew that because the Phoenix Comicon website said so!). I was trying to go for some variety in my interviews, though, and her bio pic was in costume so I figured she would be as good as a choice as any.
Turns out I was wrong. She’s WAY better of a choice than that!
What’s about to follow is a selection of questions I was able to document during her Q&A, although she honestly gave enough great material and insight while answering the first question that she could have used that as her walk off shot. In fact, she’s got an entire panel tomorrow dedicated to the first question that was asked today. So without further adieu…
Q: What gave you the self-confidence to do what you do?
Ivy: I was very overweight growing up. I loved food…still do, and proud of it! I was made fun of in middle and high school because of my weight and had zero self esteem. I started doing comicons in high school and fell in love with the idea of cosplay, but didn’t feel like I could. I didn’t think I had the right body for it.
Then Frank Cho called me four years ago and asked me to model for him, which I did. I had fun, but as soon as the con was over that negative mindset about my body crept right back in. Over the next couple years I tried to press on wearing outfits that were a little tighter and did a little more each year. Then, in 2012 I decided to go all in with the red shirt costume. And that was it.
It started from in here [she points to her head]. I decided to stop being the victim.
Wonder woman is very beautiful, very powerful. When I dress up as Wonder Woman, I feel empowered. Then I wondered to myself why I can’t be more like that, and so I’ve decided to be more confident every since.
It all comes from in here [points again] first, though.
[Honestly, I wouldn't need any more than that. I could have left the panel satisfied after that single question and answer. Fortunately I didn't have to.]
Q: How do you go from local hit to internationally renowned cosplayer?
Ivy: I did two in Canada and one in Mexico last year, and both of them contacted me to invite me there.
Q: Assuming your parents didn’t give you the name Ivy Doomkitty, how did you come to be known by that moniker?
Ivy: No, my parents didn’t give me this name. My actual name is too hard to pronounce. It’s for family only. Ivy is my nickname and TheDoomkitty was my gamer tag on the original XBox.
Q: How do you go about cutting your costume fabrics and sewing them? Do you make them from patterns?
Ivy: I don’t use patterns, no. I can’t read them! I create my own patterns instead. I’ve had no formal sewing training, though. It’s just trial and error for me.
I love working with spandex the most. It’s so forgiving versus the other fabrics.
Before making my own stuff I never really saw myself as others see me, never see me outside of myself like others do, or outside of a mirror; so I was shocked and mortified when I saw my proportions when I started working from a duct tape dummy I made to my dimensions. I couldn’t believe I was that size!
My dummy is filled with stuffing. Be careful filling a duct tape dummy with expansion foam. If you’re not careful and not looking, it will run and expand in a way that looks like you’ve experienced a sex change!
Q: What costumes are you currently working on?
Ivy: I’ve been working on a winter version of Cammy, and a Darkseid.
[I can't help but wonder what a female Darkseid would look like...should be interesting. In my eyes Darkseid has always been a little plain looking but she seems quite excited about the opportunity to gender-bend the villain.]
Q: How do you choose who you want to be?
Ivy: I have a list of about 45 different characters, and I’m constantly adding to it. A lot of it just depends on what I’m watching or doing at the time. I’m much more a fan of Marvel than DC but recently watched Justice League War and decided I need to work on a Darkseid. I’ve taken ideas from the New 52 Darkseid, the Justice League Unlimited Darkseid, and the Justice League War.
But Magneto is my favorite Marvel character of all time. Yeah…looove Magneto!
[And now for a question out of left field, Ivy asks the crowd...]
Ivy: Anyone know what I smell like? Vanilla and cookies!
[That was...um...weird. Fun, but weird. Now I want a pizookie.]
Q: You discussed earlier that you got into cosplay for fun and confidence, and that the success and renown you’ve achieved wasn’t necessarily intentional. Now that you have achieved that success and acquired additional skills, do you have an end-game in mind? Is this all leading somewhere?
Ivy: It stared as a hobby, and I still view it as a hobby. As long as its fun, I’m going to keep doing it. When it becomes more like a job than fun I’ll probably just stop. But cosplay’s become another facet of my life that’s going to be permanent. I’ll probably be 60 and still doing cosplay!
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